Badger GP Formula 1 isn't boring. 2018-01-15T12:57:24Z https://badgergp.com/feed/atom/ Badger GP https://badgergp-x9ecz75q73bk.netdna-ssl.com/images/2016/01/cropped-badger-b-retina-32x32.jpg Rob Watts <![CDATA[“IndyCar is the next step, but I’m not closing the door on F1” – Jordan King chats to Badger GP]]> https://badgergp.com/?p=973174 2018-01-15T12:57:24Z 2018-01-15T12:57:24Z Former F2 racer Jordan King will compete in IndyCar for 2018, after securing a deal with Ed Carpenter Racing. The Brit took some time out of his busy pre-season schedule to tell Rob Watts how the deal was done, and why he’s moving stateside.

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Former F2 racer Jordan King will compete in IndyCar for 2018, after securing a deal with Ed Carpenter Racing. The Brit took some time out of his busy pre-season schedule to tell Rob Watts how the deal was done, and why he’s moving stateside.

Just fifteen months ago, Jordan King was driving a Formula 1 car in an official practice session at the United States Grand Prix, but the dream of racing in Formula 1 failed materialised with the collapse of the Manor team at the end of 2016.

Jordan King
Jordan King was test and development driver at Manor between 2015-2016 – Image Credit: Octane Photographic

Having now moved on from F1’s main feeder category, Formula 2, King announced that he’d be making the move stateside, joining fellow Brits Max Chilton, Stefan Wilson, and Jack Harvey on the IndyCar grid.

“It came together quite quickly in the end, but it has been something that I had looked at for the best part of a year,” King said. “When I first looked into [IndyCar], I didn’t throw myself at it completely, but then this year it felt like the right time to pursue it properly and see if I could make it work.”

With no prior experience of oval racing, King will compete in 11 road and street course races this year, with team boss Ed Carpenter in the cockpit for the six oval races, including the Indy 500.

“Ed is doing the oval races which he likes doing, so that gave the opportunity for me to do the road and street course races; that’s how the deal came about, he explains. “It works out quite well for me and gives me the chance to learn IndyCar, learn the circuits and how it works before going on the really specialist tracks like the ovals.”

“My goal is to work towards a full-time IndyCar drive, so from a personal point of view I’m not just dipping my toe in the water; I’m going to go there and give it my best.”

Jordan King
Jordan King will drive the #20 Ed Carpenter Racing car at 11 road and street tracks this year – Image Credit: IndyCar

With former GP2 teammate Alex Rossi already competing in IndyCar, and his advisor Mark Blundell having also raced in the series, King had plenty of advice on what to expect.

“I’ve raced against three or four people who are on the grid already – I spoke with Alex Rossi and Conor Daly – and everyone just reassured me that it was the right thing to do and even things like living out there,” says King.

“It’s quite a big decision to move countries, so these were the big questions for me. Race engineers and mechanics can answer all of the racing questions, but it’s the other stuff which is hard to find an answer for.”

“[Mark Blundell] very much point blank said to go for it, and that makes it easier when you hear that from somebody you trust.”

With his focus now fully on IndyCar, King is keeping an open mind on racing in other series in the future if the right opportunity presents itself

“I want to race whatever I’m racing to the best of my ability, and to do that I think you have to dedicate yourself to it. But on the side, I would love to race other [series] and have as much time in the car as possible.”

“I’m not closing the door to F1 but for me now IndyCar is the next step, and it feels like the right time for me to do it.”

The 2018 IndyCar series begins 11th March in St Petersburg, Florida.

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Sarah Merritt <![CDATA[“17 for #JB17” – Jules Bianchi Sketch Auction]]> https://badgergp.com/?p=973151 2018-01-13T11:51:13Z 2018-01-13T10:01:49Z “17 for #JB17” – Graeme Lowdon is launching a charity auction , with 17 prints available of his latest sketch, of Jules Bianchi and raising money for Association Jules Bianchi.

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It’s good to have an outlet to relax if your job means that you have to take lots of flights and travel the world, and Manor WEC team President and Sporting Director Graeme Lowdon has often shared the beautiful sketches that he has produced over the last few years with us via social media. His chosen subject matter has rather appropriately been racing drivers, past and present, and has included Senna, Hunt, Hamilton and Button, among others.

Many have tweeted Graeme in the past saying that they wished they could own a copy of his artwork, and his originals that have been donated to the annual Zoom Auction have raised great sums of money charity.

It’s this that has inspired Graeme to embark on a fundraising effort that he revealed to Badger GP as he chatted to us at the Autosport International Show this weekend, and one that we are sure motorsport fans will be very much united in their support of.

Graeme’s latest completed sketch, above, is of Jules Bianchi, something that must have been emotional for him to complete, and his plan is to hold a closed auction for the limited number of 17 prints that will be made of it. 17, is of course a significant number, taken from Jules driver number, and #JB17 is something that Graeme still ensures is part of the livery of every Manor car to pay tribute to Jules and ensure he is still part of the team.

The money raised will be donated to Association Jules Bianchi, the charity that the Bianchi family started after his passing, and will be used to help other families in similar situations to the one they were in. It truly is a worthy cause, and the 17 prints will be signed and come with a certificate of authenticity with hologram proof of authentication.

How to bid for a #JB17 Print

Should you wish to bid on one of the prints, the process is to email GL@P1L1.com with your name, address, and bid amount in GBP, over the next 17 days. The closing date will be midnight on 30th January 2018, and the 17 highest bids will then be contacted by Graeme to arrange payment.

Graeme will provide regular updates throughout the auction via Twitter regarding the highest bid, so be sure to follow @graeme_lowdon to keep up to date on the progress of the “17 for #JB17” auction.

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Adam Le Feuvre <![CDATA[Get yourself to Autosport International 2018 this weekend]]> https://badgergp.com/?p=973133 2018-01-12T12:34:33Z 2018-01-12T12:21:44Z The Autosport International Show is the unofficial start of the new year in motorsport and a great day out for motorsport fans to get close to racing cars and get excited for the year ahead. If you’re going or tempted to grab a ticket, here are our highlights: Bloodhound SSC (stand 9160) Where else are […]

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The Autosport International Show is the unofficial start of the new year in motorsport and a great day out for motorsport fans to get close to racing cars and get excited for the year ahead. If you’re going or tempted to grab a ticket, here are our highlights:

Bloodhound SSC (stand 9160)

Where else are you going to get up close and personal with a supersonic car? These land-speed record cars are incredible beasts, and the Bloodhound project is now getting near ready to run. You can visit them, see the car up close and there are a bunch of experts on hand to answer your questions. Definitely worth a visit.

(Nearly) All the F1 Cars 

The annual “F1 Grid” can be found at the F1 Racing magazine stand, and features almost a full grid of F1 cars – only missing Sauber and Toro Rosso. It’s an opportunity to see the F1 show cars in close proximity, and Mercedes have assured us that their display is a real one, engine and all! When you head in through Hall 20, head right and you’ll find Pirelli and the F1 Racing stand there.

Jaguar Racing (stand 6440)

The Jaguar stand is an impressive one this year and features the only Formula E car on display at the show. It’s great to see an FE car up close and then alongside you’ll find Jaguar’s new I-Pace – the electric racing SUV – yes, SUV! The new racing series will act as a support series to Formula E for the 2018/19 season. 

Ginetta (stand 6430)

A stand bursting with thoroughbred racing cars and features the newly launched LMP1 chassis – the one that Manor will race in WEC this season. It’s also our favourite racing livery at the show – you can’t miss the metallic blue and white classy design. As a side now, Ginetta also have the best table in show too. Yes, table.

Buy F1 parts (stands 2910 and 6730)

The show presents a great opportunity to see some great products that aren’t available on the high street. It’s nice to see these things in the flesh/carbon fibre and it’s a great chance to treat yourself to a real race-used F1 wing or go up a level and buy some hand-crafted furniture, made from raced F1 parts. Check out Race to the Finish for F1 parts and check out, Memento Exclusives (stand 6730) for some interesting furniture pieces.

Paul Oz (stand 6665)

The show also gives you the chance to see some Paul Oz artwork up close. Including some original pieces. Definitely worth a look, images online don’t do his work justice. He also has his latest new sculpture piece on show, in conjunction with Racing Gold – it’s called the “Pit Bull ” – a sight to behold.

Pirelli

The F1 tyre supplier has a large impressive presence at the show. You can touch the actual F1 wheels and tyres, admire the rainbow of tyre options, have a go at an F1 pit stop and test your reactions to see how you compare to an F1 driver. The stand has a selection of cars on display and is conveniently next door to the F1 Racing stand.

Ferrari

There’s a massive stand for Ferrari this year featuring a couple of their F1 cars and a collection of racing Ferrari cars from other categories too. It’s a bit closed off an “VIP only” – which is what you’d expect from them, but it’s worth a look. Handily next to the Pirelli and F1 Racing stands.

Live Action Show

As well as checking out lots of stationary racing cars, it’s well worth heading over for the Live Action Arena where you’ll get to enjoy some impressive racing and stunts. It’s nice to see to actual motorsport and it’s simply impressive to see what they do in such a small space inside the NEC. It would be a mistake to miss this out from your day(s) at the show. The cast of drivers is lead by Billy Monger this year too, so a little extra special.

Lots of cars

As well as some fantastic modern racing machines, there’s a lot of great classic racing cars and iconic vintage cars throughout the show. The Pirelli stand features a 1960s Porsche, as well as the legendary Ford RS 200 rally car amongst others. Then, for a car park full of beautiful automobiles, head to the COYS auction stand where you’ll find classic Ferrari, Lamborghini, Jaguar, Aston Martins and more. Looking is free. There’s also a stand for the Motor1 site which features some more impressive cars including a few McLaren supercars.

Other tips for the show

Wear comfy shoes. Don’t laugh, but you’ll be on your feet and walking a lot during a day here, so wear something reliable. Bring snacks, food offerings aren’t the best. Get here early on the Saturday/Sunday to see some of the popular stuff before it gets too busy.

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Matt Lyons https://badgergp.com <![CDATA[2018 Team-by-Team F1 Season Preview]]> https://badgergp.com/?p=973098 2018-01-05T07:21:48Z 2018-01-05T07:21:48Z Formula One is back next month – where did the time go since the end of last season? Well – it’s back in February – for testing, at least. With the start of the season in mind, we look forward to what we might be able to expect. Sauber Alfa Romeo We can only hope […]

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Formula One is back next month – where did the time go since the end of last season? Well – it’s back in February – for testing, at least.

With the start of the season in mind, we look forward to what we might be able to expect.

Sauber Alfa Romeo

Image: Sauber AG

We can only hope that 2018 is a more successful for Sauber than the last few years have been. The team has been hopelessly hamstrung by a lack of development budget for a number of years. Now, under new ownership by secretive Swedes for the last 18 months, the scene might be set for an upturn in performance, but not just yet; development improvements take a long time to filter through in F1.

The team has Marcus Ericsson and Charles LeClerc as its drivers for the 2018 season. Ericsson hasn’t scored a point in two years and was the only full-time driver not to do so last season. LeClerc is an unknown quantity as far as F1 is concerned, albeit with impressive junior formula performances, winning both GP3 and Formula 2 championships in the last two years.

The new technical partnership between Sauber and Alfa (really a dependent relationship between Sauber and Ferrari) is unlikely to bear fruit in 2018. Indeed, the team might have to wait as long as the engine rule changes in 2021 before they a significant improvement in their performance and fortunes, such as how long it takes for an investment to translate to improved performance.

In the meantime, expect to see Sauber Alfa Romeo again propping up the bottom of the F1 Constructors Championship.

Haas

Photo: Haas F1 Media/LAT

By its own admittance, Haas has found it harder to move up the grid since entering Formula One than it thought it would be. The team cites the imbalance in payments to teams between the more successful, well-established teams, and those newer to the sport. To be fair, they have a point.

Haas retain Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen as their drivers for 2018. The team scored 47 points in the 2017 season, finishing eighth in the Championship standings. They could drop to 10th place if the Alfa/Sauber tie-up proves more successful more quickly than expected, but that’s unlikely. Expect more of the same from Haas.

Thought: Haas cannot be happy about a close competitor having a more extensive technical tie-up with Ferrari than them, can they?

Toro Rosso

Image: Octane Photography

Toro Rosso finished 7th in 2017, scoring 53 points between the four drivers utilised through the season. It really did seem like they couldn’t make up their mind about who they wanted to drive for them!

2018 is going to be a very different year for Scuderia Toro Rosso, swapping engine supplier Renault for Honda, to allow Renault to supply McLaren. It’s a gamble for both teams, but more so for Toro Rosso and Honda than McLaren and Renault. How gutted would McLaren be if Honda finally came good after three desperate years with McLaren? It is possible if a little unlikely.

Toro Rosso’s driver pairing is exciting – Pierre Gasly is hotly tipped for future greatness and Brendon Hartley won Le Mans last year, so he’s got serious credentials, despite a failed foray into F1 with Red Bull as a reserve and test driver between 2008 – 2010.

Who knows what the new Toro Rosso-Honda partnership will bring, but expect a struggle to achieve the recent respectable performances.

McLaren

World Copyright: Charles Coates/McLaren
ref: Digital Image AN7T7787

After three torrid years being powered by Honda, McLaren finally called time on their relationship last year, switching to Renault power. We’ll see how that one works out, but we hope for good things. McLaren has long stated the ability of their chassis, despite the poor performance of the Honda power unit. The team flailed around last year looking for an alternative engine supplier, eventually ending up with Renault when they ran out of time to negotiate a deal with Mercedes. That would have been an obvious fit after the two companies earlier long, successful relationship.

The whole paddock and many fans yearn for a McLaren resurgence. A team with such a successful history and capability deserves to be competitive – to add to the racing spectacle if nothing else.

The team’s driver line-up remains unchanged with Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne.

Alonso’s skills as double World Champion are clear to see. He is widely recognised as one of, if not the best driver in the current paddock, and almost certainly one of the all-time greats. Vandoorne is largely still to show his true potential. We look forward to seeing more from him this year.

Alonso undoubtedly played a role in putting McLaren and Renault together. If everything works out, McLaren should end up further up the field. Realistically the best they can hope for is to be the best of the rest after Mercedes and Ferrari. Watch out Red Bull!

Renault

Photo: Renault Sport F1 Media

Renault has just made their life a whole lot harder after becoming McLaren’s engine supplier.

Renault finished sixth in 2017, with 57 points, and retain Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz as their drivers for the 2018 season. Hulkenberg remains a fairly anonymous driver on the grid, having flirted with the top teams over the years. He is underrated as a driver, showing occasional glimpses of his brilliance, including winning Le Mans for Porsche in 2015, but has now earned the title of the driver with the most F1 starts without a podium finish.

Carlos Sainz Jr. is also pretty handy, claiming ten top 10 finishes for Toro Rosso-Renault in 2017, despite 8 retirements, scoring 54 points and finishing ninth in the drivers’ championship.

You can expect to see more of the same from Renault this year as they continue to put an infrastructure in place at Enstone before we start to see the fruits of their labour on track.

Force India

Image: Sahara Force India Media

Force India have out-performed their size and budget in recent years, putting teams like Williams and Ferrari in the shade in the dollars-spent-to-points-achieved stakes.

Despite the financial woes of owners Vijay Mallya and Subrata Roy, the team have remained surprisingly competitive, finishing fourth in the Constructors Championship last year.

The team retains its driver pairing of Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon from 2017. Both have significant potential in the right machinery.

Force India will find it difficult to improve without being a factory team. Expect similar independent overachieving from Force India in 2018.

Williams

Image: Octane Photography

Williams has been the plucky, British, upstart independent team for what seems like forever. They have been underperforming compared to their own and others expectations since the start of the V6 era. However, as with Force India, they have still been doing relatively well compared to their size and budget.

Despite their budgetary limitations, they retain significant aspirations for success, demonstrated by their recruitment of both Paddy Lowe as Chief Technical Officer and Rob Smedley as Head of Performance Engineering.

Williams has re-signed Lance Stroll as one of its drivers for 2018, with the other driver as yet unconfirmed. However, Russian driver Sergey Sirotkin is thought to be now favourite, after Robert Kubica’s apparent failure to impress at the last test after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in November.

Expect a similar performance from Williams this year as to last. Any available driver choice is unlikely to make a tangible performance difference. Breaking into the top two or three teams seems a gargantuan task for a team like Williams in the current revenue distribution and technical rules environment.

Red Bull

Image: Red Bull Racing Media

Red Bull retain their 2017 drivers for the 2018 season, with Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen proving to be probably the most exciting and capable driver-team pairing on the grid. The Mercedes-Hamilton-Bottas combination comes close but doesn’t quite beat Red Bull-Daniel-Max.

Max Verstappen is one of the most exciting talents to arrive in F1 in recent years. His skill and bravery in executing overtaking moves is exceptional, challenging reigning World Champion Lewis Hamilton for that particular accolade. Australian Daniel Ricciardo is no slouch either.

Red Bull has recently entered into a technology partnership with Aston Martin, presumably paving the way for a full divorce from engine supplier Renault (Red Bull’s power unit is currently branded by watch company TAG Heuer). Aston Martin are expected to become Red Bull’s full engine partner in 2021, after the start of the next engine regulation change.

This year, can Red Bull beat Ferrari to be best of the rest? I think they will.

Ferrari

Australian Grand Prix
Image: Octane Photography

Will Ferrari even be in Formula One this year, after their threats to leave? Of course, they will be in Formula One – it’s the only advertising they do to sell their road cars, and Ferrari and F1 have a connection which goes back to the beginning of the sport. Nobody with a soul would break that. Expect to see Ferrari compete in Formula One for many years to come.

The team seemed to implode mid-season onwards last year under the relentless pressure from Mercedes. This could be attributed to cultural issues. Ferrari has a reputation for having a blame culture. It seems to be working hard to change this. Whilst organisational cultural change is the most worthwhile thing you can do in a business to improve performance, it is also the hardest thing you can do, taking the longest time. The events of last year could be seen as cultural change growing pains.

Ferrari will be competing with Red Bull this year for second place in the Constructors Championship. Kimi Raikkonen’s not interested, either.

Mercedes

Photo Credit: Mercedes AMG F1

Mercedes were most recently quoted as saying they built a ’90 percent’ car for the 2017 season. Their aim was to provide flexibility to accommodate risk in developing a new car to new regulations – they built in space in the chassis to make things easy to move around, if necessary. Heaven help the rest of the pit lane when they build a 100% car!

The team have current World Champion Lewis Hamilton as number 1 driver (admitted or not) and Valtteri Bottas in support. Bottas has been competent, if not outstanding in his year-long tenure so far, since he arrived after Nico Rosberg retired so suddenly after achieving his first, and only, World Championship title.

The combination of the reigning World Champion, driving for the reigning Constructors Champion, with a competent second driver, seems an unbeatable combination in 2018 – if not as scintillating a prospect as Riccardo and Verstappen battling it out. Especially considering they are sure to build a ‘100%’ car for 2018! Had Ferrari not imploded in the second half of last year, the season could have been very different, but Mercedes reliability is mightily impressive. They rarely had a mechanical failure last year and had the fewest grid penalties of any engine supplier.

On the evidence of 2017, Mercedes can expect to achieve similar success in 2018. A 5th World Championship for Lewis? Probably…

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BGP <![CDATA[Design Bottas’ helmet for 2018!]]> https://badgergp.com/?p=973092 2018-01-02T13:59:50Z 2018-01-02T13:59:50Z The good folks at Mercedes are starting their 2018 campaign with a great competition where you could have your design on Valtteri Bottas’ helmet. All the details are via the link below and what we particularly like is the fact that as well as having your design made into a reality, you also get to […]

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The good folks at Mercedes are starting their 2018 campaign with a great competition where you could have your design on Valtteri Bottas’ helmet.

All the details are via the link below and what we particularly like is the fact that as well as having your design made into a reality, you also get to keep your own 2018 Bottas helmet, signed by the man himself.

A fantastic competition, what are you waiting for – get scribbling!

Full details here

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BGP <![CDATA[Formula 1 New Year Resolutions]]> https://badgergp.com/?p=973088 2018-01-02T21:37:01Z 2018-01-02T13:26:10Z Ah, January – a new year begins and the 2018 Formula 1 season isn’t far away. Before we get caught up in pre-season rumour and testing time sheets, let’s take a look at some of the new year’s resolutions across the paddock. Felipe Massa – Stay retired and enjoy it. Write a book about it. […]

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Ah, January – a new year begins and the 2018 Formula 1 season isn’t far away. Before we get caught up in pre-season rumour and testing time sheets, let’s take a look at some of the new year’s resolutions across the paddock.

Felipe Massa – Stay retired and enjoy it. Write a book about it.

Lewis Hamilton – Delete every app on phone except for LinkedIn.

Sergio Perez & Esteban Ocon – If you need to hit another car, aim for cars that aren’t pink.

Kevin Magnussen – Try to do nice things for Nico Hulkenberg. Think up some better, cleverer retorts

Nico Hulkenberg – Don’t take advice from Kevin Magnussen.

Carlos Sainz – Never have less than 3mm of wonderful, wonderful stubble.

Brendon Hartley – Go one race weekend without a grid penalty.

Kimi Raikkonen – Ask Lewis to teach him how to ‘dab’ and put it on Instagram.

Romain Grosjean – Put a quid in the jar every time you complain about brakes

Paul di Resta – Sabotage Williams’ catering, increasing chances of race appearances.

Daniil Kvyat – Apply for work experience as a submarine projectile technician.

Sebastian Vettel – Avoid bashing other cars, you get fewer points.

Fernando Alonso – Enjoy not having Honda power, but keep up the radio bantz.

Toro Rosso – Pick 2 good drivers and stick with them, everyone else manages it.

Mercedes – Give someone else a chance of beating you, now and then.

Williams – Whatever you give the amazingly fast pit crew, give the same to the designers.

Force India – Search the back of the sofa, old trouser pockets and keep pushing to get into the top 3, even with the limited budget.

Ferrari – Keep pushing, have less tantrums.

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BGP <![CDATA[Senna and Indycar]]> https://badgergp.com/?p=973074 2017-12-21T10:08:36Z 2017-12-21T09:49:31Z It was 25 years ago this week when Ayrton Senna was in the headlines – having been out to the USA to test an IndyCar. He was quick too, but there’s more to this event than just that and to commemorate the anniversary, a new docu-film has been released, enjoy (direct link here) You can […]

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It was 25 years ago this week when Ayrton Senna was in the headlines – having been out to the USA to test an IndyCar. He was quick too, but there’s more to this event than just that and to commemorate the anniversary, a new docu-film has been released, enjoy (direct link here)

You can also enjoy our take on this famous test – The Day Senna Tested IndyCar complete with images from the day.

The Day Senna Did IndyCar

via IndyCar.com 

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Adam Le Feuvre <![CDATA[Our Top Tweets of 2017]]> https://badgergp.com/?p=973056 2017-12-19T13:21:24Z 2017-12-20T00:01:37Z We love adding our Twitter commentary to the races, so we decided to see which of our silly tweets was the most popular!

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Yes this could be taken as a bit of self-promotion, but we genuinely find it fascinating which of our light-hearted and fun tweets get the most attention, so we did some research and can now present our most favourited and retweeted tweets of 2017 Formula One coverage.

In at 10 is for that moment when Fernando Alonso worked some of his magic to put his under-performing McLaren up into P1, albeit in Q1. But hey ho, no one else would have done that in a 2017 McLaren. Kudos Fernando, kudos.

https://twitter.com/BadgerGP/status/886199818158211077

At 9 we have Marcus Ericsson. In F1 it’s never good to crash, but crashing while overtaking the safety car, that’s just unforgivable.

https://twitter.com/BadgerGP/status/868821584164814849

For number 8 we have Batman’s reaction to an incident when Stroll and Sainz collided. Both drivers claimed the other hit them. Here we have Batman doing his best impression of the race stewards.

https://twitter.com/BadgerGP/status/853630851556548610

For number 7 it’s one of our favourite things on Twitter – when the official team accounts enjoy banter, publicly for all to see. Nice one Force India and Mercedes, nice one.

https://twitter.com/BadgerGP/status/850963115646881792

Max Verstappen helped us make our 6th most popular tweet of the year. Proving all the other drivers wrong, again with some epic moves.

https://twitter.com/BadgerGP/status/850959609061888000

In at 5 is the DRS sign at Silverstone for the British GP – we kept an eye on eBay, but can only assume this cheeky cyclist made it home and framed the polystyrene sign, good work!

https://twitter.com/BadgerGP/status/888012289558933505

At 4 is Lewis Hamilton, the 2017 Champion. His celebratory moves for 2017 didn’t match those from the 2015 title, so we reminded everyone of his ‘dabbing’. Classy.

https://twitter.com/BadgerGP/status/924740706480152576

On the podium is Martin Brundle’s harsh but fair put down. He clearly doesn’t rate Romain Grosjean too highly. Kung Fu Panda found Brundle’s comments a little cutting too.

https://twitter.com/BadgerGP/status/929743221533609984

In a close 2nd is our ‘exclusive’ look at the moment when Hamilton and Vettel met each other in the paddock after the Baku Grand Prix. Sources confirm this was an accurate representation after Vettel’s wheel bashing efforts.

https://twitter.com/BadgerGP/status/878996385194012672

And our most liked tweet of the year was this fantastic alternative camera angle for the start of the Singapore Grand Prix.

https://twitter.com/BadgerGP/status/909390213453111296

See you all for more of our alternative Grand Prix coverage in 2017!

 

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Dan Thompson https://badgergp.com <![CDATA[Top 5 Best and Worst F1 Moments of 2017]]> https://badgergp.com/?p=973029 2017-12-17T20:43:58Z 2017-12-19T00:01:58Z 2017 is almost over and it’s time for everybody in the paddock to go their separate ways. Lewis to the beach, Kimi to the bar and all the McLaren-Honda teamwear to the shallow grave that Zak Brown has already dug for it out the back of the McLaren Technology Centre. In a year full of […]

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2017 is almost over and it’s time for everybody in the paddock to go their separate ways. Lewis to the beach, Kimi to the bar and all the McLaren-Honda teamwear to the shallow grave that Zak Brown has already dug for it out the back of the McLaren Technology Centre.

In a year full of memorable moments, let’s take a look at five of the worst, and five of the best.

#5 Worst – Farewell to Manor

2017 Began on a sad note as a beloved underdog of the grid closed its doors for good.
For the purists among us, the Manor fairy-tale really ended when John Booth and Graeme Lowdon walked away at the end of 2015. But the spark was still there with the reborn squad and many hoped that the plucky backmarkers might just manage to cling on.
Throughout 2016 rumoured lifelines seemed to appear and fade away on a near weekly basis: Honda were going to buy the team, then Mercedes, then Ron Dennis but ultimately none of them did and on 27th of January Manor finally collapsed.

Credit: Octane Photographic.

#5 Best – The Kimi Kid

If you ever want proof that a bad day can turn around then go back and rewatch the 2017 Spanish GP.

Caught up in a clumsy first corner scramble, Kimi Räikkönen found his race over before it had even begun and as the broken Ferrari limped back to the garage the cameras caught sight of a young Kimi fan in floods of tears.

Determined to salvage something positive from the day, Ferrari dispatched team personnel to bring the boy and his family to the team motorhome where he got to meet his hero in person and receive a signed hat.

They even took him to the podium celebrations at the end of the race. Top marks.

#4 Worst – T Wings

“Come see F1 2017!” They said. “The cars will look brilliant!” They said. “Also they’ll have weird coat hangers stuck on the back of them.”

You have to give the engineers credit for finding a loophole in the apparently airtight 2017 rulebook. But you can’t ignore the fact that no matter how much you try to make them sound like something from Star Wars, the T Wings looked awful.

They were also pretty dangerous given their tendency to detach themselves from the cars and make occasional bids for freedom.

Aero rules have been further tightened for 2018 so hopefully we’ll see these devices back in the wardrobe where they belong.

#4 Best – Jenson keeps Fernando’s seat warm

If this were a general motorsport list then Fernando Alonso nearly winning the Indy 500 on his first try would definitely be on here. But instead, let’s look at what happened back in F1 while ‘Nando was driving in ovals.

With the Monaco GP taking place the same weekend, McLaren called upon Jenson Button to take over driving duties and despite having never driven the 2017 cars, JB showed us that some of the old magic was still there.

Not only did he put in one of the best qualifying laps that McLaren saw all season but he also gave us the best radio message of the year:

https://twitter.com/FiftyBuckss/status/868800724104339457?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

 

#3 Worst – Who’s driving for Toro Rosso today?

Toro Rosso is famous for having something of a revolving door but in 2017 that door was spinning so fast that it could have been hooked up to a generator and used to power a city.
Put simply: Sainz was going to go to Renault so Gasly replaced Sainz, but then he didn’t so Gasly replaced Kvyat instead; then Sainz actually did go to Renault so Kvyat replaced him; but then Gasly went to do the final race of Japanese Super Formula – except he didn’t because it rained – so Hartley replaced Gasly; then Gasly came back and Torro Rosso thought he was quite good so he replaced Kvyat.

Got it? No? Good, neither did anybody else.

#3 Best – Brilliant Baku

When Azerbaijan joined the F1 calendar in 2016 we looked at the track – a combination of high speeds and tight corners – and predicted absolute madness. It failed to deliver that year but boy did it ever come good in 2017.

We had collisions, Vettel sideswiping Hamilton behind the safety car, Hamilton losing the race because of a wonky seat rest, Lance Stroll on the podium and Daniel Ricciardo pulling off the best overtake of the year.

Thank you, Baku, more of that please.

#2 Worst – Brazilian Crimewave

Interlagos is one of the best race tracks in the world. It is treasure of the F1 calendar and consistently produces some of the best races of every season.

The only problem with the home of the Brazilian GP is that in order to get to it you have to drive through one of the most dangerous parts of São Paulo. It’s always been a problem but this year things went from difficult to downright frightening.

Several teams suffered at the hands of local gangs across the weekend, culminating with Mercedes team personnel being robbed at gunpoint. In the end, the situation got so bad that Pirelli cancelled their planned tyre test and headed home early.

Brazil is a jewel in the F1 crown but the race organisers need to do better. If this happens again next year it won’t just be Pirelli turning their backs on Brazil, it’ll be the entire sport.

#2 Best – F1 comes to London

When Liberty Media took over Formula 1 this year they promised big things in terms of fan engagement but it wasn’t until July that we really got a taste of what that meant.

On the eve of the British GP, the F1 circus descended on central London and took over. Thousands of fans packed out Trafalgar square for a festival of live music, driver appearances and car demos.

It was the first time that F1 cars have taken to the streets of the capital since 2004 and it was brilliant. If this is what the modern fan engagement looks like then long may it continue.

#1 Worst – Engine Penalties

Penalties are always a thorny subject but in 2017 it reached new heights.

In an effort to force manufacturers into building reliable engines – and as a result keep costs down – the FIA set limits on the number of power unit elements that can be used in a single season. Go over that limit and you get a grid penalty. It sounds simple; it wasn’t.

Of F1’s four manufacturers, only Mercedes managed to avoid losing grid places due to engine parts. At the other end of the scale, Honda lost nearly 400.

The peak of this came at the Italian GP when Lewis Hamilton was the only driver on the entire grid to start the race from the position in which he had qualified.

Cost control is an important issue and one not easily solved but there simply has to be a better solution than this. With a three engine limit on the horizon for 2018 there is a good chance of engine penalties deciding the championship and that would, in Lewis Hamilton’s words “suck”.

#1 Best – Ferrari are back

With the 2017 season ending on a bit of a damp note it’s easy to forget just how close it was for most of the year. Yes, Ferrari didn’t so much throw the title away as strap it to a rocket and send it to found a Mars colony, but up until the final rounds they were right there.

There’s a lot to like about the 2014-16 seasons and as two horse races go, we’ve had some good ones, but nothing really compares to a proper battle between teams.

This year we got to see two of the best drivers in the world in two wildly different cars going at it on the track and producing some of their greatest drives in the process. We got action, drama and sublime wheel-to-wheel racing and ultimately, that’s what it’s all about.

If Ferrari can maintain their form and Renault can sort their engine out, there is every chance of a three or even four team battle in 2018 and if that doesn’t give you something to smile about over the holidays, I don’t know what will.

Got any more best and worst moments to share with us? Let us know on Twitter and Facebook and may Jenson Button never pee in your seat.

The post Top 5 Best and Worst F1 Moments of 2017 appeared first on Badger GP.

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Emma Thomson <![CDATA[A chat with Stuart Pringle, MD of Silverstone]]> https://badgergp.com/?p=973008 2017-12-17T20:30:01Z 2017-12-18T00:01:08Z Silverstone.  Home of British Racing. Steeped in history, the iconic track has been at the heart of the British motorsport scene for nigh on 70 years.  Beloved by drivers, teams and fans alike, Silverstone faces a watershed moment in its long and illustrious history.  While there may be a question mark over whether Formula 1 […]

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Silverstone.  Home of British Racing. Steeped in history, the iconic track has been at the heart of the British motorsport scene for nigh on 70 years.  Beloved by drivers, teams and fans alike, Silverstone faces a watershed moment in its long and illustrious history. 

While there may be a question mark over whether Formula 1 cars will still be racing there after 2019, life does not stand still. There is much to do to tackle the big challenges associated with managing a modern day motor-racing circuit. And what exactly does the future hold as Silverstone plans ahead for life with or without its flagship event?

Badger’s very own Emma Thomson paid a visit to Managing Director, Stuart Pringle to find out. 

It’s hard to imagine Silverstone without Formula 1.  Host of the first ever World Championship race in 1950, the former WW2 airfield has been home to the British Grand Prix on 51 occasions and the race’s permanent home since 1987.  But all that could be coming to an end.  During the summer, Silverstone took the painful decision to activate the break clause in its current F1 contract meaning no more F1 after 2019, unless Silverstone can come to a mutually agreeable deal with new commercial rights holder, Liberty Media.

Making the circuit economics work

It is a complex business running a motor racing circuit, even tougher to do so profitably.  Being part of the global Formula 1 circus is a major challenge, especially when circuits have no real control over the ‘entertainment factor.’  Silverstone’s Managing Director, Stuart Pringle explains:  “Fundamentally, people will only come and watch if the championship is interesting. Having a successful British champion like Lewis Hamilton helps, but when Schumacher was dominating for years and years, our gates took a real hammering.  If the show is boring, if there’s no overtaking or the noise isn’t right, all these things have a big impact.”  

What’s more, the gate money is the only major revenue stream (along with a small percentage of hospitality income) Silverstone can use to try and cover the considerable cost of hosting the prestigious event. This is not a ‘high margin’ activity, especially when you are the only circuit on the current calendar not receiving any form of government help.   “However you slice or dice it” says Pringle,  “the economics of running a circuit are very expensive.  Managing that can sometimes feel like trying to throw a treble top, dart after dart after dart.”

But managing it they are. And Pringle is adamant that the business can continue on the current upward financial trajectory by extracting more value from its two greatest assets: the land and the brand. How exactly can the business extract more value from its land asset?  Pringle is convinced the answer lies in thinking beyond the boundaries of the sport.  “Let’s stop talking about motor-racing and start talking about a prime 550 acre site in the middle of the country, with excellent road access right to the front door and a global brand name above the main gate.”

Blueprint for the future

The BRDC (British Racing Drivers’ Club and circuit owners) and Silverstone Boards have been thinking along these lines for many years.  The most recent iteration of the Silverstone Masterplan received planning consent in the summer, paving the way for the circuit to develop out its land portfolio and spread the turnover across a more diverse range of business interests.  Proposals are wide ranging and include a much needed hotel (earmarked for opening in late 2019), luxury short-stay lodge accommodation, automotive brand centres (similar to the Porsche Experience already located at the circuit), an Adrenaline Centre and a long awaited educational visitor attraction (which Pringle is at pains to avoid calling a museum despite the fact that it will tell the history of the circuit – more on that later).

Pringle acknowledges the business probably hasn’t always done enough to lever the potential of the Silverstone Wing, the flagship Pit & Paddock building opened in 2011.  But that will certainly change with the arrival of a hotel, a vital piece of the jigsaw for the circuit’s conference, banqueting and exhibition business.  He says, “The Wing is better described as the largest covered conference and exhibition facility between London and Birmingham, not an F1 Pit & Paddock.”  He goes on, “we have a strategy in place to extract to more value from the building and really make a difference to the bottom line. If we get that right and link it to a brand new hotel, the sky’s the limit.”

He is equally enthused about how the business can use the Silverstone brand to maximum effect, even if F1 is no longer a fixture on their calendar.  “We have spent a lot of time and effort on F1 over the years; it’s time to extract the value that has built into our global brand.”  Pringle believes this approach is already opening doors.  “The brand is how we will be able to build a hotel which will get people to stay here longer and will help grow our conference and exhibition business too.  That’s why we can cross-market on other products like our driving experiences. There’s a real sense of momentum behind all this.” Silverstone is also becoming more proactive at exploring global consultancy opportunities through trade missions and selling its expertise to new circuits.  Pringle is bullish about pursuing this. “Why can’t we sell our know-how?  Why can’t we sell that ‘Powered by Silverstone’ tag to lend authenticity to new circuit set-ups around the world?”

Something for the fans: the Silverstone Experience

One new development, which is already forging ahead, is the Silverstone Experience.  Supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the surrounding local authorities, the arrival of a museum at Silverstone is a long overdue attraction for motorsport fans.  Just ask anyone who has turned up on a wet Thursday afternoon in February when there’s no action on track.  Apart from taking a souvenir photo under the ‘Welcome to Silverstone’ sign, there’s nothing to show or do with the casual, drop-in visitor. Due to open in Spring 2019, I ask Stuart what visitors to the Silverstone Experience can expect. 

“This will be the motor-racing equivalent of Harry Potter World. Except the motorsport world is real! It will talk about the history – the sporting success, the technical battles, the rivalries and innovation. But it won’t just look back.  It will be forward looking too, explaining new innovations in motorsport like how aerodynamics and tyres work. It will be immersive, interactive and very educational.”

Pringle believes this new facility will be a point of national interest that people will make a point of coming to see, motorsport fan or not.  “ These ideas have been designed to attract people who don’t have a strong interest in motorsport.  It will open their eyes to what it’s all about.”

The BRDC is forging ahead with all these new plans to create a strong and sustainable future for the track. “They [the BRDC] love being the guardians of the circuit and of British motorsport,” says Pringle.  “I think they are the best people for this as they don’t get any personal benefit from it. They are fixing things themselves and we are unquestionably on the right road to strengthening our business model for the future.” 

Stuart sounds particularly buoyed by how things have progressed in the past few months.  “We have a convincing plan and critically, we can deliver on that plan and people have the confidence to back us.”  Not only that, but the business has crossed some big ticket items off their ‘to do’ list.  “We have been talking about doing so many of these big developments for the last ten years.  Now we can make them happen; we are making them happen in fact.

A positive vibe for the future

With so much going on, Pringle is looking to the future with tremendous positivity. 2019 will be a big year for Silverstone when a number of the key developments contained in the Masterplan will come to fruition. “That’s when the rest of our life starts,” he says.

But will the rest of Silverstone’s life have Formula 1 in it? I ask Stuart how all these plans stack up in the sad scenario that 2019 is the last ever running of the British Grand Prix.  “None of this is contingent on keeping F1,” he explains. “Life would be easier with it in many ways.  We’re all petrol heads here, so of course we want to keep it, but not at any price.”  Pringle believes the legacy of having Formula 1 will endure at the circuit.  “People know what Silverstone is and what it’s for.  We have a great brand, we are still the home of British motor racing so will people still come?  Absolutely they will.”

Stuart is sanguine about 2018 too.  Plans are already well advanced for promoting next year’s Grand Prix, which happens to coincide with the circuit’s 70th birthday year.  “We want to give the fans a really special event for our birthday,” he says.  

It’s clear that the Silverstone management is sharply focused on delivering lots of exciting new developments to keep motorsport lovers coming through the hallowed gates for many years to come. 

With many thanks to Stuart Pringle and Katie Tyler (Marketing & Communications Manager) for their time.

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